03 September 2007

BOLCII Day 19 & 20: 24 Hr MOUT Ops

0530 PT: A little disorganization as the PT Leader showed up to one spot outside the wire and the PLT showed at a different location. Once we got going it was 2 min of lower ab work out with flutter kicks, partner assisted calf lifts, and partner assisted squats (partner in the same weight class sitting on your shoulders) mountain climbers, leg lifts, steam engine, donkey kicks, crunches, rocky crunches and a bunch more I can’t remember at the moment.

Off to showers and chow then on the bus with full battle rattle plus (2) MREs off to Mckenny MOUT site for more shooting house training. This one has the full town with houses, buildings, church, jail etc. SSG Vega and SSG Butler ran concurrent training in two different buildings with squad size with two fire teams and Opposing Force (OPFOR) so we could put into use what we had learned the previous day. Great training! But like many things at BOLCII you will get what you put into it. If you want to lay around and nap you can find a way. If you want to learn important stuff that could save your and your Soldiers lives you need to take initiative and make en effort to be in the middle of the action.

On a “can you believe this!?” note, LT “Ninja” (fake name to protect his identity) fired a blank off in-between training to “see if his M4 would fire –wrong answer! We jumped all over him for it.

MRE about 1200, more training then about 1700 we ran a quick PLT mission to assault the big blue building. I was on the squad providing security. The PL and PSG did not have much time to organize but it went off reasonable well.

1800-2000 Time for a tasty MRE and a few minute of rack time where ever you could find it. 2000 we formed up in the town square and CPT Mcginty told us we would be conducting Simunitions training by squad. The cadre issued us (12) simunition upper receivers/barrels and (2) mags each for us to swap out and put on our M4s.

NOTE: One note of concern is the cadre did not issue us the special Simunitions helmets. Whether they forgot or they were not available I do not know but the IOBC guys who had been running Simunitions missions in the same town all day looked at us like we were crazy! If you bring your make sure your bring your clear pro-glasses, gloves, if you bring your own IBA, bring your neck, and groin protection even if they don’t put it out. Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIvfUoTUZGE and you will see how much these rounds can hurt if you get shot in the “wrong” place! I improvised some groin protection by using a carbineer on the front of my belt with a small pack and tied a doubled up ACU handkerchief around my face in case I took a face shot so it would not leave a bloody welt.

There was a massive cluster as a rain front rolled in while 1st SQD ran their mission. We had to secure everyone’s gear including their sensitive items, move them to one building them move them to another building, hours were lost as LTs tried to find their stuff. Lesson learned INSIST to the cadre NCOs to secure your gear inside a building.

LT “Ninja” struck again buy refusing to die while OPFOR and continuing to fire Simunitions point blank and trying to take head shots. One LT finally drop kicked him and that was the end of that.

It was 2330 by the time 4th squad got called up, LT Miles stayed our squad leader and was given 20 mins to plan with the squad. The OPFOR was also given 20 mins to plan. We talked and LT Wismann was chosen lead A tm and I was chosen for B tm. We agreed which team would lead and go left/right etc. We did not have our PVS-14 night vision so we agreed to enter each room using a brief burst of white light (I suggest buy/bring a high output LED converted AA maglite) to disorientate the OPFOR. We test fired our simunition M4 as their had been problems with them jamming up on the first round. We also conducted some brief rehearsals.

Time hack was called and we immediately went tactical and stacked up outside the building door, A tm went in first right and we went left clearing the first floor. A tm went up the stairs and saw an obstacle outside the 2nd floor door on the right, suspecting a trap LT Wismann wisely closed the door and we conferred a minute, he suggested A tm go thru the left door as we and breached and thru assaulted the right door. A tm immediately took fire and lost (3) of their (4) members, we blew thru the left door, I kicked the obstacle out of the way and we immediately went to work clearing the hallway and rooms, I called for a high/low on almost all the situations, it took more time but my team was the only team in the PLT to neutralize all OPFOR and bring all my team members out alive. There was a point of confusion when the SQD Ldr told me all OPFOR had been neutralized and we could stop clearing. We had one more room to go and I made a command call to clear it anyway which was a good thing as there was an unexpected EPW to deal with. We then had an After Action Review (ARR)

The PLT was formed up to coordinate the next mission. The PLT would move and setup a patrol base from 0100-0400 and setup off for the PLT night mission.

CPT Mcginty called for OPFOR volunteers and I was not going to miss this opportunity so I yanked LT James out of the squad and made a bee line for the rally point. There was (6) OPFOR and CPT Mcginty gave us some basic requirements and left the execution totally up to us. We went around and setup the building the way we wanted; including moved a refrigerator to block the main stair well and turning all lights out as teh PLT was to all have PVS-14s on. We setup our PVS-14s (except for mine which some loser LT had broken!) We then racked out for a few hours in the same room with all sorts of creepy-crawlers on the floor in our sweat drenched uniforms.

An hour or so into it I heard one of the metal pipes we had leaded against the doors as an early warning device crash and hit the floor. I open one eye and watched to see what would happen, I saw some of the IOBC guys dart thru the door and look at us with their PVS-14. Thankfully, they did not disturb us although I could hear them continue to run ops in the area. 0330 we were up, made final adjustments and found a hiding place.

I won’t bore you with all the details but I was on the 3rd floor and I could see the PLT move in front the wood line, all the cadre started throwing grenade simulators (blinding flash/earth shaking bang) to see how everyone would react. The PLT did a good job and hit the building from multiple sides. I waited patiently in my hiding spot as the squads made their way up to the 3rd floor and shot two of the assault team as they entered the room before the 3rd man got me. I got left on m

After a few minutes I got bored and decided to have some fun. I poked my head out one of the West windows and saw 2nd squad on the roof of the jail below me providing support by fire. I figured it wouldn’t be right for me to fire at them since I was “dead” but I decided a “ghost” could throw empty shell casings. I darted between the six windows, pitching casings on the guys below causing mass confusion as I made myself visible and darted away. 2nd squad was unable to confirm if the 3rd floor where I was had been cleared as 4th squad was now gone so they kept yelling the challenge word then firing off a few rounds. It was all I could do to keep from rolling on the floor laughing.

Lessons Learned: PCC/PCI on all PVS-14s during the day and have extra batteries. PLT needs to move tactically to assault. Do not let the grenade simulator derail the plan. Have PLT SGT setup a CCP right away.

Another squad finally came up to move me to the CCP where I was searched and waited for end-ex. CPT Mcginty lead the AAR then about 0630 we loaded buses for the FOB. I made a bee line for the showers and chow then packed all my gear and racked out with the rest of the PLT till 1100. We slept like the dead.

We had one LT showed the sign of heat stress by puking his guts out and shallow breathing/heat rate. On of the LTs kept an eye on him all night checking his vitals every hour and he eventually recovered without a trip to the hospital.

Those of us who had to complete SRM and those competing in MOUT loaded a bus, waited for an hour, loaded anther bus and finally moved out Booker range, We knocked out firing SRM and stood by to clean the range (3rd PLT cleans again!) we stood byand waited, cleaned the shooting house after the MOUT teams, attmpted to load a bus but were told 3rd was last in the order of march, ah well. We finally got back to the barracks (home sweet, home!) took our gear up to our rooms, cleaned weapons, had chow and waited to be released. The 1SG "actual" (real 1SG) decided to do a spot check on our weapons and happened to pick one that did not meet the standard (!) so I was appointed OIC to quickly mobilized a team to perform a level 1 re-clean. We knocked them out while the cadre breathed down our neck, as they needed to turn in a Co-wide weapons count.

Then we learned that one of the cadre had misplaced a gov-credit card so we waited while they looked and then decided to cancel it. Then we find out pieces part are missing from the PVS-14 turn in! Overall it was a very painful wait as we all wanted to go! Finally, after the awards were given for the week and safety brief was given we were released at about 2000. The word was C Co was released about 1500.

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